Three Stars: Sens (6) vs Leafs (3)

Photo by André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

After coming back from down 4-1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday night to win 6-5 in overtime, the Leafs were set to host the Sens last night. The blue and white have been struggling to find their footing through the first 12 games of the year. Unfortunately, their defensive struggles would continue last night as they lost to the Sens by a score of 6-3. 

First Star – Claude Giroux 

Giroux was in the media earlier this week defending his head coach as Sens fans were chanting to fire him at their previous home game. Giroux backed up his talk with his play on as he turned the clock back to his prime years in this one. While he only played 15:48 in this one, he was a factor every single time he was on the ice. He scored two goals, had an assist, was plus two, had two shots on goal, one hit, and was 60% in the face-off dot. He truly was the x-factor for the Sens, you could tell he was simply not going to let the group lose this game. The 35-year-old now has nine points in his previous five games. 

Second Star – Tim Stutzle 

Stutzle was pretty quiet for about half of the game last night. However, when he chose to turn it up a notch, he did not look back. He played a total of 20:46, scored a goal, had three assists, was plus three, fired two shots on goal, had a blocked shot, two hits, and two takeaways as well. The 21-year-old German native now has three goals and 12 assists for a total of 15 points through 11 games so far this year. Since arriving in the NHL, Stutzle has been a key contributor to the Sens lineup offensively. I expect nothing less from Stutzle again this year for the Senators. 

Third Star – Mathieu Joseph 

Joseph was noticeable all night long. His speed and hockey IQ was on display the entire game. He was an absolute force for the Senators, and the Leafs simply had no answer for his speed and strength. He played a total of 16:53 in this one. He had three assists, was plus three, fired three shots on goal, had one blocked shot, as well as one takeaway. The Sens were looking for a spark, and I think head coach DJ Smith found it when he put the trio of Stutzle, Giroux, and Joseph together as they ran the Leafs show last night. 

With the loss in this one, the Leafs have now lost five of their last six games, and they have allowed 34 goals in their seven home games so far this year. Simply not good enough from the blue and white, especially defensively. Next up on the Schedule for the Leafs is a back-to-back pack of games on Friday and Saturday night to conclude this homestand. They are set to host the struggling Calgary Flames on Friday, then they turn around to host the red-hot Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. One of very few positives to come out of this game for the blue and white was the fact that William Nylander scored to extend his point streak to 13 games.

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